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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Did Kant Deny Knowledge to Make Room for Faith?

In The Life of The Mind, Hannah Arendt examines the three principal aspects of man’s mental activity: thinking, willing, and judging.

The insights that she develops in the book are, according to her, derived from the work done by Immanuel Kant. She says that Kant is the first major philosopher to see the decisive difference between reason and intellect, truth and meaning, thinking and knowing, essences and appearances.

Arendt offers an interesting perspective on a controversial line that Kant has written in his preface to the Critique of Pure Reason: “I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith.”

Here's an excerpt from chapter 8,“Science and common sense; Kant's distinction between intellect and reason; truth and meaning,” of Arendt's book:
“As we have seen, [Immanuel Kant] stated that he had "found it necessary to deny knowledge… to make room for faith,” but all he had "denied" was knowledge of things that are unknowable, and he had not made room for faith but for thought. He believed that he had built the foundations of a future "systematic metaphysic" as "a bequest to posterity,” and it is true that without Kant's unshackling of speculative thought the rise of German idealism and its metaphysical systems would hardly have been possible. But the new brand of philosophers— Fichte, Schelling, Hegel—would scarcely have pleased Kant. Liberated by Kant from the old school dogmatism and its sterile exercises, encouraged by him to indulge in speculative thinking, they actually took their cue from Descartes, went hunting for certainty, blurred once again the distinguishing line between thought and knowledge, and believed in all earnest that the results of their speculations possessed the same kind of validity as the results of cognitive processes.” 
~ Arendt in The Life of The Mind (page 63—64)
Related:

An Autopsy of The Objectivist Standpoint on Kant

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